When Usama ibn Munqidh came to Cairo in 1144, he was hoping to restart a promising career as a military officer. Instead, he would find himself in the middle of a series of plots, intrigues, betrayals, murders, and street battles that would tear apart the capital of Egypt.
This dissertation investigates the two-and-a-half century evolution of Islam’s most prominent leadership institution, the Abbasid caliphate, after its restoration in Cairo following the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258.
Among the many unexpected finds the Cairo Geniza has yielded are hundreds—possibly thousands—of medieval documents of state in Arabic script, including decrees, rescripts, petitions, tax receipts and fiscal accounts from the Fatimid period.
Among the many unexpected finds the Cairo Geniza has yielded are hundreds—possibly thousands—of medieval documents of state in Arabic script.
Even in the Middle Ages one can find accounts of people doing death-defying stunts for our entertainment.
In recent years, there has been a contentious debate on how should society deal with drugs like marijuana. Should it be legalized and accepted? What is the harm or benefits of these drugs? The same questions were being raised in medieval Egypt.
All day long I have a lonely heart and am pained by our separation. I feel that pain while writing these lines. But the choice is with you; the decision is in your hand: if you wish to carry the matter through, do so; if you wish to leave things as they are, do so.
Through the ages of Cairene history the alcoholic beverages, entangled in political and religious developments, depended more on prevailing doctrinal currents than on people’s habitual or taste inclinations. Therefore, the story of these beverages’ consumption is – not surprisingly – a turbulent one.
The meals offered by street cooks were probably lacking in subtleness and elegancy if compared to the specialties served by the “caliphs’ kitchen” or by the Arabic-Islamic haute cuisine whose recipes were written down in the cookbooks for the elites
The announcement of a potentially huge gravesite in Egypt has led the world’s media to make claims that a million mummies have been discovered. Now, the entire archaeological project might be in jeopardy.
One of the consequences of the decline of Roman imperial might was the shortage of slaves at state-run mines. Consequently, criminals were often sentenced to damnatio ad metallum. The need for gold especially soared when the gold solidus was introduced at the beginning of the fourth century.
Under medieval Islamic law, a man could marry up to four women. However, if accounts from 15th century Egypt are indicative, it would be rare for such an arrangement to work out for all parties.
A 1,500 year old papyrus fragment found in The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library has been identified as one the world’s earliest surviving Christian charms.
Among the most eligible saints for such treatment, Mary of Egypt deserves particular consideration: her popularity is evidenced by over a hundred extant Greek manuscripts of her Life and her uniquely prominent position in the Lenten liturgical cycle in the Eastern Church.
The article shows that, contrary to a commonly accepted assumption, no public consumption facilities such as restaurants, taverns or inns existed in medieval Cairo.
How might the historian of religions write a social and religious history of Jewish magic in the medieval Islamicate world?
This dissertation examines the geography of the slave trade, the role of slavery in the household, and the lives of domestic slave women in the Egyptian Jewish community under the rule of the Fatimid caliphate and Ayyubid sultanate
The aim of this study is to present the sea and land commercial routes of the Byzantine Egypt and their role in the dissemination of the plague bacteria Yersinia pestis from the Red Sea to Mediterranean ports. The Mediterranean port of Pelusium was considered as the starting point of the first plague pandemic…
Shihab al-Din al-Hijazi (1388-1471) was an unexceptional legal student in Mamluk Cairo, who, at the age of 24, overdosed on marking nut, a potent plant drug valued for its memory-enhancing properties
Ibn Wāṣil (604/1208-697/1298) was a relatively prominent scholar and administrator who had close links with the political and military elites of Ayyūbid- and early Mamlūk-period Egypt and Syria throughout his career.
Agriculture has been the main source of the economy for all dynasties established in Egypt and the Mamluk kingdom was no exception.
A diverse yet distinctive group of magical amulets has periodically attracted the attention of scholars from Renaissance times to the present. The amulets take many forms, including engraved gems and cameos, enamel pendants, die-struck bronze tokens, cast or engraved pendants of gold, silver, bronze, and lead, and rings of silver and bronze.
How did price levels and trends in Cairo compare to those in Europe?
Muslim-Christian theological synthesis, beginning in the Umayyad period and culminating in eleventh century Fatimid Egypt, will be explored through the particular lens of Coptic-Christian clerical and lay efforts to appropriate the Arabic cultural language as a means of religious survival and dialogue with Muslim apologists.